Some progress on workers

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
The outlook for seasonal workers in Central Otago was discussed at the final full meeting of the Central Otago District council for the year yesterday.

While some councillors at the Alexandra meeting commented on "negative press" of the horticulture and viticulture sectors, Central Otago Labour Market Governance Group chairman Cr Stephen Jeffrey said progress was being made.

Extensive joint industry and Government campaigns generated a reasonable level of success in attracting seasonal workers from key markets such as students, the unemployed, working holiday visa holders in New Zealand, and motorhome owners.

The crunch time would come at the season’s critical peak in January when it was expected the industry would only have two thirds of the staff required that could become more acute at the tail end of the season when students returned to study.

Mr Jeffery said there were complications with the transferring visas — holders were reluctant to change to supplementary seasonal employment (SSE) work visas.

Cr Martin McPherson said people here on student or visitor visas faced issues when SSE visas expired, requiring them to leave and apply to return.

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